So I've been having trouble getting the BabyPi to connect to my router in my son's room. Seeing as this is where I tend to use it the most, it's quite the problem. I narrowed down my issue to the size of the antenna in the tiny wifi dongle. After some google-fu I ran across several great (albeit outdated) articles on making antennas from household objects. Obviously, I had to try it out lol, so here we go!
One of my favorite methods was making an improvised satellite dish from a can. The idea here is to take the omni-directional antenna on the dongle and concentrates it all into one direction.
I used an awl to start the hole and some pliers to clean it up. I took a usb extension cable and stuck it in the newly formed hole.
The view from the back:
This actually worked rather well, but not well enough. I went from not having a signal at all to having about a 10% signal... It's a huge improvement, but not strong enough to run streaming audio and video on.
So I went back to the drawing board and did some more research. I found that the satellite type works much more efficiently with a set, calculated, focal point.
So after some dollar store shopping, I found I mesh strainer that had a good dome shape and got to work.
I traced out the basic shape of the usb extension cable and cut it out with some tiny wire-cutters, ran the cable through, put the plug at the appropriate depth, and secured it with some electrical tape on both sides. It ends up looking something like this:
I got it lined up nicely on to of the dresser:
I got remarkably better results with this design. It has a signal between 40 - 55% depending on which doors are open along the way and how well it's aimed. This seems to be working really well and I will be screwing it on to the side of the cabinet once I get some more screws, I seem to have run out...
I may post some updates once I get it screwed down and get the alignment down pat, but that's all for now!